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seems probable that he would not long have continued in what, according to the principles he had adopted, would appear a schismatical communion.
13. Grotius was from the time of his turning his mind to theology almost as much influenced as Casaubon by primitive authority, and began, even in 1614, to commend the Anglican church for the respect it showed, very unlike the rest of the reformed, to that standard." But the ill usage he sustained at the hands of
and of Grotius.
"Casaubon himself hailed Grotius as in the right path. In hodiernis contentionibus in negotio religionis et doctè et piè judicat, et in veneratione antiquitatis cum iis sentit, qui optimè sentiunt. Epist. 883. See also 772, which is addressed to him. This high respect for the fathers and for the authority of the primitive church grew strongly upon him, and the more because he found they were hostile to the Calvinistic scheme. He was quite delighted at finding Jerome and Chrysostom on his side. Grot. Epist. 29. (1614.) In the next year, writing to Vossius, he goes a great length. Cæterum ego reformatarum ecclesiarum miseriam in hoc maxime deploro, quod cum symbola condere catholicæ sit ecclesiæ, ipsis inter se nunquam eam in rem convenire sit datum, atque interim libelli apologetici ex re nata scripti ad imperatorem, reges, principes, aut ut in concilio œcumenico exhiberentur, trahi cœperint in usum longè alienum. Quid enim magis est alienum ab unitate catholica quam quod diversis in regionibus pastores diversa populo tradere coguntur? Quam mirata fuisset hoc prodigium pia antiquitas! Sed hæc aliaque multa mussitanda sunt nobis ob iniquitatem temporum. Epist. 66. He was at this time, as he continued till near the end of his life, when he moved on farther, highly partial to the Anglican church. He was, however, too Erastian for the English bishops of the reign of James, as appears by a letter addressed to him by Overall, who objected to his giving, in his treatise De Imperio circa Sacra, a definitive power in controversies of faith to the civil magistrate, and to his putting episcopacy among non-essentials, which the bishops held to be of divine right. Grotius adhered to his opinion, that episcopacy was not commanded as a perpetual institution, and
thought, at that time, that there was no other distinction between bishops and priests than of precedency. Nusquam meminit, he says in one place, Clemens Romanus exsortis illius episcoporum auctoritatis quæ ecclesiæ consuetudine post Marci mortem Alexandriæ, atque eo exemplo alibi, introduci cœpit, sed planè ut Paulus Apostolus, ostendit ecclesias communi presbyterorum, qui iidem omnes et episcopi ipsi Pauloque dicuntur, consilio fuisse gubernatas. Even in his latter writings he seems never to have embraced the notions of some Anglican divines on this subject, but contents himself, in his remarks on Cassander, who had said, singularly as it may be thought, Convenit inter omnes olim Apostolorum ætate inter episcopos et presbyteros discrimen nullum fuisse, sed postmodum ordinis servandi et schismatis evitandi causa episcopum presbyteris fuisse præpositum, with observing, Episcopi sunt presbyterorum principes; et ista gorraria (præsidentia) à Christo præmonstrata est in Petro, ab Apostolis vero, ubicunque fieri poterat, constituta, et a Spiritu Sancto comprobata in Apocalypsi. Op. Theolog. iv. 579, 621.
But to return from this digression to our more immediate purpose. Grotius for several years continued in this insulated state, neither approving of the Reformation nor the church of Rome. He wrote in 1622 to Episcopius against those whom he called Cassandrians, Qui etiam plerosque Romanæ ecclesiæ errores improbantibus auctores sunt, ne ab ejus communione discedant. Ep. 181. He was destined to become Cassandrian himself, or something more. The infallibility of the church was still no doctrine of his. At illa auctoritas ecclesiæ avapagrnov, quam ecclesiæ, et quidem suæ, Romanenses ascribunt, cum naturali ratione non sit evidens, nam ipsi fatentur Judaicam ecclesiam id privile
those who boasted their independence of papal tyranny, the caresses of the Gallican clergy after he had fixed his
gium non habuisse, sequitur ut adversus negantes probari debeat ex sacris literis. Epist. secunda series, p. 761. (1620.) And again: Quæ scribit pater de restituendis rebus in eum statum, qui ante concilium Tridentinum fuerat, esset quidem hoc permultum; sed transubstantiatio et ei respondens adoratio pridem Lateranensi concilio definita est, et invocatio peculiaris sanctorum pridem in omnes liturgias recepta. P. 772. (1623.) Grotius passed most of his latter years at Paris, in the honourable station of ambassador from the court of Sweden. He seems to have thought it a matter of boast that he did not live as a Protestant. See Ep. 196. The Huguenot ministers of Charenton requested him to communicate with them, which he declined, p. 854, 856. (1635.) He now was brooding over a scheme of union among Protestants: the English and Swedish churches were to unite, and to be followed by Denmark. Constituto semel aliquo tali ecclesiarum corpore, spes est subinde alios atque alios se aggregaturos. Est autem hæc res eo magis optanda protestantibus, quod quotidie multi eos deserunt et se cœtibus Romanensium addunt, non alia de causa, quam quod non unum est eorum corpus, sed partes distractæ, greges segreges, propria cuique sua sacrorum communio, ingens præterea maledicendi certamen. Epist. 866. (1637.) See also p. 827. (1630.) He fancied that by such a weight of authority, grounded on the ancient church, the exercise of private judgment, on which he looked with horror, might be overruled. Nisi interpretandi sacras literas, he writes to Calixtus, libertatem cohibemus intra lineas eorum, quæ omnes illæ non sanctitate minus quam primæva vetustate venerabiles ecclesiæ ex ipsa prædicatione scripturis ubique consentiente hauserint, diuque sub crucis maximè magisterio retinuerint, nisi deinde in iis quæ liberam habuere disputationem fraterna lenitate ferre alii alios discimus, quis erit letium sæpe in factiones, deinde in bella erumpentium finis? Ep. 674. (Oct. 1636.) Qui illam optimam antiquitatem sequuntur ducem, quod te semper fecisse memini, iis non eveniet, ut multum sibi ipsis sint discolores. In Angliâ vides quam bene processerit dogmatum noxiorum repurgatio, hac maximè de causa quod qui id sanctissimum negotium pro
curandum suscepere nihil admiscuerunt novi, nihil sui, sed ad meliora sæcula intentam habuere oculorum aciem. Ep. 966. (1638.)
But he could not be long in perceiving that this union of Protestant churches was impossible from the very independence of their original constitution. He saw that there could be no practicable re-union except with Rome itself, nor that, except on an acknowledgment of her superiority. From the year 1640 his letters are full of sanguine hopes that this delusive vision would be realised. He still expected some concession on the other side; but, as usual, would have lowered his terms according to the pertinacity of his adversaries, if indeed they were still to be called his adversaries. He now published his famous annotations on Ĉassander, and the other tracts mentioned in the text, to which they gave rise. In these he defends almost every thing we deem popery, such as transubstantiation (Opera Theologica, iv. 619), stooping to all the nonsensical evasions of a spiritual mutation of substance and the like; the authority of the pope (p. 642), the celibacy of the clergy (p. 645), the communion in one kind (ibid.), and in fact is less of a Protestant than Cassander. In his epistles he declares himself decidedly in favour of purgatory, as at least a probable doctrine, p. 930. In these writings he seems to have had the countenance of Richelieu. Cardinalis quin ivwosas negotium in Gallia successurum sit, dubitare se negat. Epist. sec. series, p. 912. Cardinalis Ricelianus rem successuram putat. Ita certè loquitur multis. Archiepiscopus Cantuariensis pœnas dat honestissimi consilii, quod et aliis bonis sæpe evenit. P. 911. Grotius is now run away with by vanity, and fancies all will go according to his wish, showing much ignorance of the real state of things. He was left by some from whom he had entertained hopes, and thought the Dutch Arminians timid. Vossius, ut video, præ metu, forte et ex Anglia sic jussus, auxilium suum mihi subtrahit. P. 908. Salmasius adhuc in consiliis fluctuat. Est in religionis rebus suæ parti addictior quam putabatur. P. 912. De Episcopio doleo; est vir magni ingenii et probus, sed nimium cupidus alendæ partis. But it is probable that he had misinterpreted some language of these great men, who
residence at Paris, the growing dissensions and virulence of the Protestants, the choice that seemed alone to be
contemplated with regret the course he was taking, which could be no longer a secret. De Grotii ad papam defectione, a French Protestant of some eminence for learning writes, tanquam re certa, quod fama istuc distulit, verum non est. Sed non sine magno metu eum aliquid istiusmodi meditantem et conantem quotidie inviti videmus. Inter protestantes cujuslibet ordinis nomen ejus ascribi vetat, quod eos atrocius sugillavit in Appendice de Antichristo, et Annotatis ad Cassandri consultationem. Sarravii Epistolæ, p. 58. (1642.) And again he expresses his strong disapprobation of one of the later treatises. Verissimè dixit ille qui primus dixit Grotium papissare. p. 196. See also p. 31, 53.
In 1642 Grotius had become wholly averse to the Reformation. He thought it had done more harm than good, especially by the habit of interpreting every thing on the papal side for the worse. Malos mores qui mansere corrigi æquum est. Sed an non hoc melius successurum fuerit, si quisque semet repurgans pro repurgatione aliorum preces ad Deum tulisset, et principes et episcopi correctionem desiderantes, non rupta compage, per concilia universalia in id laborassent. Dignum est de quo cogitetur. P. 938. Auratus, as he calls him, that is D'Or, a sort of chaplain to Grotius, became a Catholic about this time. The other only says,-Quod Auratus fecit, idem fecit antehac vir doctissimus Petrus Pithæus; idem constituerat facere Casaubonus si in Gallia mansisset, affirmavit enim id inter alios etiam Cordesio. P. 939. Of Casaubon he says afterwards, Casaubonus multo saniores putabat Catholicos Galliæ quam Carentonianos. Anglos autem episcopos putabat a schismatis culpa posse absolvi. P. 940. Every successive year saw him now draw nearer to Rome. Reperio autem quicquid communiter ab ecclesia occidentali quæ Romanæ cohæret recipitur, idem reperiri apud Patres veteres Græcos et Latinos, quorum communionem retinendam esse vix quisquam neget. Si quid præter hoc est, id ad liberas doctorum opinationes pertinet; in quibus suum quis judicium sequi potest, et communionis jus non amittere. P. 958. Episcopius was for limiting articles of faith to the creed. But Grotius did not agree with this, and points out that it would not preserve uniformity. Quam multa jam
sunt de sacramentis, de ecclesiarum regimine, in quibus, vel concordiæ causa, certi aliquid observari debet. Alioqui compages ecclesiæ tantopere nobis commendata retineri non potest. P. 941. It would be endless to quote every passage tending to the same result. Finally, in a letter to his brother in Holland, he expresses his hope that Wytenbogart, the respectable patriarch of Arminianism, wouid turn his attention to the means of restoring unity to the church. Velim D. Wytenbogardum, ubi permiserit valetudo, nisi id jam fecerit, scriptum aliquid facere de necessitate restituendæ in ecclesia unitatis, et quibus modis id fieri possit. Multi pro remedio monstrant, si necessaria a non necessariis separentur, in non necessariis sive creditu sive factu relinquatur libertas. At non minor est controversia, quæ sint necessaria quam quæ sint vera. Indicia, aiunt, sunt in scripturis. At certè etiam circa illa loca variat interpretatio. Quare nondum video an quid sit melius, quam ea quæ ad fidem et bona opera nos ducunt retinere, ut sunt in ecclesia catholica; puto enim in iis esse quæ sunt necessaria ad salutem. In cæteris ea quæ conciliorum auctoritate, aut veterum consensu recepta sunt, interpretari eo modo quo interpretati sunt illi qui commodissimè sunt locuti, quales semper aliqui in quaque materia facile reperientur. Si quis id a se impetrare non possit, ut taceat, nec propter res de quibus certus non est, sed opinationem tantum quandam habet, turbet unitatem ecclesiæ necessariam, quæ nisi retinetur ubi est, et restituitur ubi non est, omnia ibunt pejus. P. 960. (Nov. 1643.) Wytenbogart replied very well: Si ita se res habet, ut indicia necessariorum et non necessariorum in scriptura reperiri nequeant, sed quæri debeant in auctoritate conciliorum aut veterum consensu, eo modo quo interpretati sunt illi qui commodissimè locuti sunt, prout Excellentia tua videtur existimare, nescio an viginti quinque anni, etiamsi illi mihi adhuc restarent, omnesque exigui ingenii corporisque mei vires in mea essent potestate, sufficerent ut maturo cum judicio perlegam et expendam omnia quæ eo pertinent. This letter is in the Epistolæ præstantium et eruditorum virorum edited by Limborch in 1683, p. 826. And Grotius's answer is in the same collection. It is that of a man who throws off a mask he had reluctantly
left in their communion, between a fanatical anarchy, disintegrating everything like a church on the one hand, and a domination of bigoted and vulgar ecclesiastics on the other, made him gradually less and less averse to the
worn. There was in fact no other means of repelling Wytenbogart's just observation on the moral impossibility of tracing for ourselves the doctrine of the Catholic church as an historical inquiry. Grotius refers him to a visible standard. Quare considerandum est, an non facilius et æquius sit, quoniam doctrina de gratia, de libero arbitrio, necessitate fidei bonorumque operum obtinuit in ecclesia quæ pro se habet universale regimen et ordinem successionis, privatos se in aliis accommodare, pacis causa, iis quæ universaliter sunt recepta, sive ea aptissimis explicationibus recipiendo, sive tacendo, quam corpus illud catholicum ecclesiæ se in articulo tolerantiæ accommodare debere uniuscujusque considerationibus et placitis. Exempli gratiâ: Catholica ecclesia nemini præscribit ut precetur pro mortuis, aut opem precum sanctorum vita hac defunctorum imploret; solummodo requirit, ne quis morem adeo antiquum et generalem condemnet. The church does, in fact, rather more than he insinuates.
I have trespassed on the patience of the general reader in this very long note, which may be thought a superfluous digression in a work of mere literature. But the epistles of Grotius are not much read; nor are they in many private libraries. The index is also very indifferent, so that without the trouble I have taken of going over the volume, it might be difficult to find these curious passages. I ought to mention that Burigny has given references to most of them, but with few quotations. Le Clerc, in the first volume of the Bibliothèque Universelle, reviewing the epistles of Grotius, slides very gently over his bias towards popery; and I have met with well-informed persons in England, who had no conception of the lengths to which this had led him. It is of far more importance, and the best apology I can offer for so prolix a note, to perceive by what gradual, but, as I think, necessary steps, he was drawn onward by his excessive respect for antiquity, and by his exaggerated notions of Catholic unity, preferring at last to err with the many, than to be right with the few. If Grotius had learned to look the hydra schism in the face, he would have had less fear
of its many heads, and at least would have dreaded to cut them off at the neck, lest the source of life should be in one of them.
That Grotius really thought as the fathers of Trent thought upon all points in dispute cannot be supposed. It was not in the power of a man of his learning and thoughtfulness to divest himself of his own judgment, unless he had absolutely subjugated his reason to religious awe, which was far from being the
His aim was to search for subtle interpretations, by which he might profess to believe the words of the church, though conscious that his sense was not that of the imposers. It is needless to say that this is not very ingenuous; and even if it could be justifiable relatively to the person, would be an abandonment of the multitude to any superstition and delusion which might be put upon them. Via ad pacem expeditissima mihi videtur, si doctrina, communi consensu recepta, commodè explicetur, mores sanæ doctrinæ adversantes, quantum fieri potest, tollantur, et in rebus mediis accommodet se pars ingenio totius. Epist. 1524. Peace was his main object: if toleration had been as well understood as it was afterwards, he would perhaps have compromised less.
Baxter having published a Treatise of the Grotian Religion, wherein he imputed to Grotius this inclination towards the church of Rome, Archbishop Bramhall replied, after the Restoration, with a vindication of Grotius, in which he does not say much to the purpose, and seems ignorant of the case. The epistles indeed were not then published.
Besides the passages in these epistles above quoted, the reader who wishes to follow this up may consult Epist. 1108, 1460, 1561, 1570, 1706, of the first series; and in the second series, p. 875, 896, 940, 943, 958, 960, 975. But there are also many to which I have made no reference. I do not quote authorities for the design of Grotius to have declared himself a convert if he had lived to return to France, though they are easily found; because the testimony of his writings is far stronger than any anecdote.
comprehensive and majestic unity of the Catholic hierarchy, and more and more willing to concede some point of uncertain doctrine, or some form of ambiguous expression. This is abundantly perceived, and has often been pointed out, in his Annotations on the Consultation of Cassander, written in 1641, in his Animadversions on Rivet, who had censured the former treatise as inclining to popery, in the Votum pro Pace Ecclesiasticâ, and in the Rivetiani Apologetici Discussio; all which are collected in the fourth volume of the theological works of Grotius. These treatises display an uniform and progressive tendency to defend the church of Rome in everything that can be reckoned essential to her creed; and in fact he will be found to go farther in this direction than Cassander.
14. But if any one could put a different interpretation on these works, which would require a large measure of prejudice, the epistles of Grotius afford such evidence of his secession from the Protestant side, as no reasonable understanding can reject. These are contained in a large folio volume, published in 1687, and amount to 1766 of one series, and 744 of another. I have quoted the former, for distinction's sake, by the number, and the latter by the page. Few, we may presume, have taken the pains to go through them, in order to extract all the passages that bear upon this subject. It will be found that he began, as I have just said, by extolling the authority of the Catholic or universal church, and its exclusive right to establish creeds of faith. He some time afterwards ceased to frequent the Protestant worship, but long kept his middle path, and thought it enough to inveigh against the Jesuits and the exorbitancies of the see of Rome. But his reverence for the writers of the fourth and fifth centuries grew continually stronger; he learned to protest against the privilege claimed by the reformers, of interpreting Scripture otherwise than the consent of the ancients had warranted; visions, first of an union between the Lutheran and English churches, and then of one with Rome itself, floated before his eyes; he sought religious peace with the latter, as men seek it in opposition to civil government, by the redress of grievances and the subse